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Mon Jan 27 2014 16:02:25

Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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Bonanza recently announced on its blog that Real-time Digital Downloads are now available on the site. Sellers can now peddle digital products from Bonanza, such as mp3 music, training videos, sewing patterns, PDF ebooks, etc. (Sellers must own the legal rights to distribute the digital product; Bonanza's digital download policy is here. For example, items cannot "include or be of any type of sexually-oriented, adult, or pornographic content.").

Etsy had announced in April 2013 a feature enabling sellers to fulfill digital orders automatically, so sellers can set up a digital item listing once, and Etsy sends buyers an automatic email notification with a link to a page where they can download the file. This helped Etsians such as Yael Falk ("Yoola" on Etsy) sell her popular digital tutorials about her wire jewelry crocheting technique, which her customers had shown interest in learning. According to Etsy, after Yael began to offer the digital tutorials, such as this one, "it was then that she saw her small business really take off."

With another marketplace adding the ability to sell digital downloads, one wonders if eBay will follow suit. Selling such content via download, like ebooks, used to be allowed on eBay, until they banned it in 2008.  Their explanation was that sellers were using the "ease of replication" of digitally downloaded products to "list thousands of the same item in an attempt to manipulate the Feedback system." Ebay did allow the selling of digital content via the Classified Ad format, but this was not the same thing and signaled the end of an eBay-based digital-download business for many sellers.

Certainly one can see that if an eBay seller abuses the system and spams it up with thousands of the same digital item, those sellers should be suspended or face other consequences...but with all eBay's back-end technology to identify "bad actor" buyers, wouldn't it seem feasible they could identify the sellers who are the culprits in such scenarios? Must all sellers with digital products be penalized for the actions of some? Not to mention, digital products would be an additional revenue stream for eBay.

If nothing else, one would think that in eBay's attempts to keep up with the Amazon-Jones's (sounds like an exotic British family), they'd want to embrace the ebook format that is now such a familiar part of Amazon's Kindle-based world. Most of the books I buy these days are from my iPad Kindle app.

I can say that as a buyer, I'd like to be able to purchase digital products from eBay, be they e-books, song files, or comic books. And as a seller, I miss being able to sell my ebooks about sourcing products (and other topics) on the site. But it's good to know other parts of the online selling world are embracing this eco-friendly, instant-gratification method of getting electronic goods into customers' hands. Or, rather, onto their laptops.

Do you think eBay will ever bring back downloadable products, as they once allowed? If you are a Bonanza seller, do you plan to try out this new format? And as a consumer, do you like being able to purchase and receive items electronically?




Comments (6) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?   Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 27 17:16:55 2014

In one word NO

They stopped allowing that years ago.

Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?   Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?

by: Mimi This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 27 23:56:42 2014

ebay might not catch them all, but there are lots of digital downloads already.  

Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?   Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Jan 28 00:52:14 2014

Does anyone else remember when ebay imperiously announced prohibitions against digital content and the absurd reason they gave for doing so?

They said then they couldn't figure out how to "monetize" digital content all while Amazon was beginning to make big bucks on Kindle downloads.

What genius have they hired who's figured how to monetize digital downloads on ebay?

Or...could it possibly be that ebay was lying in the first place?

Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?   Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 28 13:47:36 2014

NO.

eBay is in collusion (that would be their VERO program) with as many manufactorers as possible.

Digital dwnloads of ANY kind might upset the "apple cart" and therefore eBay wont do it.

Remember that eBay 1) is DEATHLY afraid of being sued by them 2) eBay needs them as "buddies and revenue sources" so "better not to piss them off".

You MAY one day see some official digital download portal - ala itunes for eBay (spotify?) but until eBay gets permission through VERO it wont fly.

 

Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?   Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Tue Jan 28 16:47:04 2014

One wonders if Apple and Amazon are doing it, and doing it legally, eBay couldn't if it wanted to.  

Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?   Will eBay Follow Bonanza and Etsy in Allowing Digital Downloads?

by: Eric Saeger This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 29 12:22:05 2014

@Julia:  I'm sure they could do licensing.
Matter of fact, if eBay would quit paranoically snapping up every stupid little company they perceived as a threat, they could do some advertising after they were done tightening down all their legalese.  I'm so sick of this hammer-and-tongs Bain stuff I can't even tell you.



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